As I write, my freezer is loaded with walnuts right now. So do expect to see some walnut recipes back to back, which I hope you will love.
A while ago I was crazy to have an organic kitchen garden of my own. The kinds that could supply me few tomatoes, chillies, spinach, mint, curry leaves, and some greens. But I have given up on my tiny kitchen gardening now. Over these months I made frantic attempts to get my plants all the nutrition they needed in behest of keeping them organic. I aerated the mud, replenished them and fed them field fetched dungs. They grew well, but only for a part of the time. Then my life got so busy that pursuing the weekly routine of caring for them seized. Just watering did not help as they needed extra effort and care when gardened in pots. While many other plants failed to grow as much I would have loved them, it was the mint that surprised me the most. She spread wild and nice, her leaves bursting in depth of greens, the stalks emanating the peppery aromas of mint, making it such a delight to watch her each time I nutured her. I basked in the happiness of watching her bloom and contemplated on how much beauty she would bring to my dishes. Sauces, chutneys, desserts, and this pesto. Such small joys give bounty happiness.
So one evening this pesto was made; mint, some leftover dill and coriander stalks ground with walnuts and garlic, seasoned with salt and pepper and liberally flavored with a dash of grated cheese. I've used the leftover dill and coriander stalks in making this pesto, but I recommend, you skip dill and only use coriander since both mint and dill have a unique strong flavour. Nevertheless, it's a comfort food that goes well with Garlic Spaghetti or into making these bread rolls for our breakfast.
Walnut Mint Pesto Bread Rolls
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm milk (maybe a little more or less)
2 tsp. active dry yeast (I used Baker’s here)
1/4th cup melted salted butter
1/4th cup powdered sugar
For the Pesto filling:
1 garlic clove
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup mix of dill leaves and coriander stalks
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup walnut halves, lightly toasted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely grated cheddar
Dissolve 2 tsp. of active dry yeast in half a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of sugar. Keep it aside for 10 minutes till the yeast is active and frothy. If the yeast fails to froth, discard and start again.
After 10-15 minutes, in a separate glass bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dough; the frothy yeast, sugar, butter and flour, pouring just as much milk in small additions so as to form a sticky soft dough. The dough will initially be sticky, but later will begin to leave itself from the sides of the bowl. Knead into a smooth elastic dough with as little flour as possible. Stickier the dough, lighter will be the bread. Knead the dough for atleast 5-7 minutes so as to release its gluten which helps in a nice, light bread.Place the dough in a bowl, cover it and allow the dough rise until it has doubled in size (should take about 90 minutes in warm condition).
Meanwhile to prepare the pesto filling, grind all the ingredients except the cheese mentioned under pesto above. I like some bits of walnuts coming through, hence I used a mortar and pestle for this purpose. Set aside.
After about 45 min the dough should have risen. Give it a punch and knead it further for 5 more minutes. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to form a rough rectangular shape with uniform thickness. Spread the pesto filling all over the dough. Sprinke over the grated cheese. Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a tight roll. Slice the roll into 9 even pieces. Gently poke some more grated cheese into the rolls. Place them on the baking tray and keep them in a warm place for at least 1 hour, until they've roughly doubled in size. Bake them at 180 deg C for 30 to 35 minutes.